On Thursday, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest supporters warned NATO that if Sweden and Finland joined the US-led military alliance, Russia would have to beef up its regional defences, even by deploying nuclear weapons.

Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometer (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden are both considering joining NATO. Finland will make a decision in the next weeks, according to Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s Security Council deputy chairman, stated that if Sweden and Finland join NATO, Russia would need to expand its land, naval, and air troops in the Baltic Sea.

Medvedev also directly mentioned the nuclear danger, declaring that there would be no more discussion of a “nuclear-free” Baltic — where Russia has its Kaliningrad exclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania.

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